Core Arts Garden in Hommerton, London, received a grant from the Our Space Award programme, transforming their outdoor garden space into an interactive wildlife paradise.

Key achievements:

  • Total area of land improved: 90sqm
  • Area of land depaved: 50sqm
  • Area turned ‘Green to Grey’: 16m x 2m railings covered with planters (could potentially not put this in, don’t think it matters too much if there isn’t enough space)
  • Number of trees planted: 5 trees  
  • Number of volunteers: 190 

The Our Space Award was a driving force behind Core Arts mental health charity and the recent Garden Makeover in Hommerton, London. The Core Arts Garden Makeover project saw a ten year old garden transform from a grey concrete space, unit a beautiful and natural oasis rich in flowerbeds, plants and bird feeders redesigned by local residents and volunteers.

“Part of the project involved depaving two portions of tarmac that originally led to nowhere,” says project lead Michelle Lindson. After clearing the tarmac, community volunteers got involved in planting activities, which were accessible for all age groups.

Around 200 corporate volunteers, students and Core Arts referrals, were involved in the transformation from September through to March (2020). Two full skips of concrete, rubble and paving was removed from the existing garden space. As a result, the garden now offers more efficient water drainage, which creates opportunities for self-seeders to encourage native wild flowers, and the insects that feed on them.

“People recognised that the space can accommodate more people now, and in different ways. It’s a much more welcoming space.” – Nemone Mercer

The clever planting of raised and local beds have been used for easy access means throughout the garden.   Accessibility and wheelchair users have been considered so the garden remains inclusive and can be experienced by as many people as possible. With paving provided from the main entrance to the main seating area, the space is easily accessible.

The removal of paving and concrete was a greater challenge than originally anticipated as the space was neglected and underused for so long. After planting various types of trees, climbers and wildlife habitats within log piles, and a ‘meadow’ area, the garden can now provide a respite for improving personal mental health, in addition to being a prime example of green urban living. Reclaimed and reused materials, such as slate chippings, is also a reoccurring theme throughout the garden.

Volunteers digging out the pond at Core Arts, Hommerton.

Busy digging out the pond

The experience provided volunteers with life-long and transferable skills, and an opportunity to feel truly valued within the community by helping others. With a raised platform, the hope is to hold art and music performances in the garden once the national lockdown is over, ensuring a long-term impact for the Core Arts community and it’s visitors.

“We were able to see the process of the build from start to finish, and really value the changes that were happening.”

Since opening, Core Arts has held a Christmas event in the garden which involved making decorations; a great start to the garden’s new lease of life!

Find out more about the Our Space Award here.